Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & Metrowest offers many different and unique mentoring programs. Each program is modeled with the same structure in mind. Our programs create professionally supported, 1:1 mentoring relationships. The logistics of those mentoring relationships differ slightly between programs.
When people think of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the program that most are familiar with is our Community-Based Mentoring Program. Our community-based program matches youth aged 6 to 12 years old with volunteer mentors from 42 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts and Metrowest. Read more about this program below.
How do I become a Big in the Community-Based program?
First, we ask all applicants to inquire through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America online portal. By entering your zip code, it will automatically connect you to our agency if you live in one of the 42 towns and cities that we operate in. This online form asks for some basic information. From there, you will receive an email with additional questions to answer.
To ensure we are keeping everyone in our programs safe and happy, we conduct a background check for each volunteer. We’ll ask you to complete a CORI/SORI form and to send us three references who can confirm your ability to be a mentor. We also ask you to attend two online training sessions that will go in depth covering what you may need to know when working with youth that have various mental health concerns and LGBTQ+ youth.
After the trainings are completed, you’ll be invited for an interview with one of our Match Support Specialists. It is a chance for us to get to know you, learn about what you’d like to get out of the program, and hear about what your interests are and what you like to do for fun. After the interview, the next step is to attend a training with other new Bigs. This training will go over everything you need to know to create a healthy mentoring relationships. Finally, you’ll be matched with your Little and will get to meet them!
How are Bigs and Littles matched in the Community-Based program?
Our Match Support Specialists match volunteer Bigs with Littles based on a variety of factors, such as interests, family history, location and personalities. Our staff really take the time to get to know both the Big and the Little. Your Match Support Specialist will review our wait list of Littles in your area and will do their best to find a Little who will be a great fit for you. Sometimes this process can take a while because we strive to find an ideal match as we aim to create a lasting relationship with each match we create. Our Match Support Specialists formally introduce each Big with their Little and afterwards each match is required to schedule their own planned visits.
How often do matches meet in the Community-Based program?
Each match meets 3 to 4 times per month and each match lasts at least 1 year. A few favorite activities that matches enjoy are going to the library, going to a local park, attending a sporting event, or grabbing a bite to eat. Throughout the length of the match, the Match Support Specialist will continue to monitor and stay involved to insure each party is happy and safe. These check-ins happen once per month for the first year of the match. Matches are eligible to stay involved in our program until the Little graduates from high school.
To become a Big in our Community-Based Mentoring Program, visit here.
Read our full Guide to Becoming a Big and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & Metrowest here.